CERB: More than just an income program


The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 triggered the introduction of public health measures that would close large sectors of the economy and send millions of workers home. In two short months, the unemployment rate reached 14.1 per cent—the highest level since 1936, in the midst of the Great Depression. In all, 2.7 million workers lost their job outright, while another 2.2 million lost all or half of their working hours. Many more would be affected in the months ahead as the economy recovered in fits and starts.

Canada, like countries around the world, quickly responded with a raft of income security tools and strategies to cope with the economic fallout. Programs such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and its successor programs.

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